Jeremy Colliton comments on the future of the Chicago Blackhawks
By Justin Klawans
The Chicago Blackhawks have not had a decent past few years by anybody’s standard. The team has been on the decline for a while, but with the recent moves that were made, one man thinks that things may be heading in the right direction.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in a self-described rebuild, however, there are still a number of big pieces that remain on the team, at least for now. Typically, a rebuild in the modern NHL would mean that a club is looking towards at least a five-year window of mediocrity. However, Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton sees things a bit differently.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Colliton addressed some of the recent moves that GM Stan Bowman has made, as well as where he sees the future of the team going. He noted that he was involved in the conversation that Bowman had with the veteran player core, including Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. While Toews, in particular, was reported to be a bit put off by the commitment to rebuild, Colliton helped to ensure the group that many pieces would still be staying put.
Colliton also talked about the immediate and long-term future of the team, making it clear that he was not content to see this group on the periphery of the playoffs for years to come. While the rise from the basement for the Hawks will surely take time, Colliton acknowledged that they don’t want to be a mid-tier team forever:
"They [the veterans] want to win right now, and that’s understandable, and so do we. We want to win every night but at the same time, it goes back to what I said in the beginning: I’m not interested in being a bubble team."
So often, rebuilds conjure up images of a decade of bottom-ten finishes in the standings, but I don’t think that this is necessarily a fate the Blackhawks need to resign themselves to, especially with their core group of veterans remaining mostly intact. Colliton doesn’t think it will take that long to get back to the top either, adding:
"I don’t think we can set a date, say drop dead, this has to happen, because hockey’s random…..next year, we’re going to look to be similar, continue to stay competitive, do it with an even younger group, and build a mentality that is going to be sustainable long term so that we can win year-after-year so that we can constantly be in the mix."
While I do think that the Blackhawks did have a decent draft this year, this team still has a ways to go in terms of being a contender again. Despite this, there are still bright spots to look forward to. They have a trio of young goalies ready to take Crawford’s spot in net, and they also have a number of good prospects, particularly on defense. The team also got bigger in the draft this year with Louis Crevier, which is something they’ve needed for a while.
Obviously, Colliton is going to be biased towards his team and say that they are on the rise no matter what. While many people may disagree, I think that there are a lot of exciting pieces for him to work with in the next few years. Although it will hardly translate to immediate success, it should still be good enough for the Hawks to begin the climb out of the basement.